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Ruby on Rails meets the Business World

Posted by Mon, 21 May 2007 23:36:00 GMT

On Saturday, I had the great pleasure of being up in front of several hundred people with the following individuals on the the Business of Rails panel at RailsConf.

Photo by James Duncan Davidson

Moderated by:
  • Nathaniel Talbott, President, Terralien, Inc.
The Victims:
  • Justin Gehtland, Founding Partner, Relevance
  • Geoffrey Grosenbach, Topfunky
  • Andre Lewis, Earthcode Studios
  • Joe O’Brien, artisan, EdgeCase, LLC
  • Robby Russell, Director, PLANET ARGON

Overall, the experience was fantastic. I really enjoyed the questions that Nathaniel and the audience threw our direction, both during and after the session. Throughout the remainder of the conference, people would catch me and present complicated business questions to me and ask for my input. I think that I even helped one guy make his final decision about which job offer he was going to accept (btw, did you decide yet?). It’s always great to share my experiences of leaving my last full-time job (3+ years ago), moving to Rails exclusively (2+ years ago), how Allison and I went from two people in an attic to seven people in an attic in about a month... to having an office in downtown Portland and clients around the globe. I’m also always happy to share my not-so-happy experiences throughout the past few years as well. Running a business is hard stuff as it comes with a whole lot of responsibility, which can lead to stress. It was great to know that the rest of the panel has had their difficult experiences. While Rails makes everything feel easy… running a business is a whole different spectrum of challenges. ;-)

At one point during the session the audience was asked, “How many of you are considering starting your own business based on Ruby on Rails?”

The response?

Based off of my extremely scientific calculations (looking around the room), I’d estimate that around 30-40% of the audience raised their hands! Wow. It was fantastic to see that there was that much interest in people starting venturing off onto their own. Imagine… a flood of new companies, competing directly with us… and guess what? I think that’s awesome! Awesome for Rails. Awesome for future startups. Awesome for everyone!

Let’s face it. Rails isn’t going anywhere for a long time.

So, now that the conference is over, questions have begun to appear in my email box. Thank you all for writing. What if you could have a sounding board to throw questions to on a regular basis? Unfortunately, our session only lasted a hour at RailsConf and too many questions weren’t gotten to. Well, I’ve asked the rest of those on the Business of Rails panel to join me on a google group, titled, Ruby on Rails meets the Business World.

If you’re looking to (A) start your own Rails-based business, (B) already run your own Rails-based business, or ((C)) have business experience that you’d like to share with those in camp A and B… then join the community and start some conversations.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to learning from you all and hope that my experience of co-founding and leading PLANET ARGON can be of benefit to all of you.

Photo by James Duncan Davidson

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